Bio-Forge effects on soybean yields in Michigan

Bio-Forge improved soybean yield and income in Michigan in 2012 when applied as recommended.

Bio-Forge® is a biological plant growth promoter marketed by Stoller USA. It is advertised as being able to reduce plant stress and promote higher yields. Bio-Forge can be applied in-furrow, as a sidedress application and as a foliar application. It is also available as a seed treatment (Bio-Forge ST) promoted as improving nodulation and root growth in cool soil conditions. Stoller USA recommends that both a seed treatment and a foliar application be applied to maximize potential benefits.

The SMaRT project, a partnership between Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Soybean Checkoff, evaluated the effect of Bio-Forge on soybean yields. Bio-Forge seed treatment and the combination of Bio-Forge seed treatment plus a Bio-Forge foliar application were compared to an untreated control and the cooperating producer’s in-furrow fertilizer at one location in 2012. The Bio-Forge seed treatment was also compared to the Bio-Forge seed treatment plus a Bio-Forge foliar application at two locations. At all sites, the Bio-Forge seed treatment was applied at 2 ounces per 100 pounds of seed and the foliar Bio-Forge was applied at 12 ounces per acre at the V4 growth stage.

The combination of the Bio-Forge seed treatment and a Bio-Forge foliar application increased soybean yields by two bushels per acre over the untreated control at one site in 2012 (Table 1). However, there was no statistically significant difference between the soybean yield in the seed treatment only and the seed treatment plus foliar treatment at this site.

Table 1. Bio-Forge and in-furrow fertilizer effects on soybean yield and income in 2012

Treatment

Yield (bu/acre)

Income ($/acre)

Bio-Forge seed treatment + Bio-Forge foliar treatment

68.6 a

$958

Bio-Forge seed treatment

67.1 ab

$954

In-furrow fertilizer

65.7 b

$913

Untreated control

66.6 b

$949

LSD 0.1

1.6

 

Soybean price = $14.25 per acre
BioForge seed treatment cost = $2.25 per acre
Bio-Forge foliar treatment cost (product plus application) = $18.28
In-furrow fertilizer cost= $22.48 per acre

The Bio-Forge seed treatment plus the Bio-Forge foliar application treatment increase soybean yields by 1.8 bushels per acre over the Bio-Forge seed treatment alone when two locations were combined and analyzed (Table 2).

Table 2. Bio-Forge effects on soybean yield and income in 2012

Treatment

Yield (bu/acre)

Income ($/acre)

Bio-Forge seed treatment + Bio-Forge foliar treatment

62.0 a

$863

Bio-Forge seed treatment

60.2 b

$856

LSD 0.1

0.6

 

Soybean price = $14.25 per acre
BioForge seed treatment cost = $2.25 per acre
Bio-Forge foliar treatment cost (product plus application) = $18.28

This research supports Stoller USA’s current recommendation of applying Bio-Forge seed treatment coupled with a Bio-Forge foliar application. This treatment was more profitable than the untreated control at one location and more profitable than applying the seed treatment alone at two locations. Additional research involving more locations is needed to provide reliable recommendations regarding the use of Bio-Forge in Michigan.

This article was produced by the SMaRT project (Soybean Management and Research Technology). The SMaRT project was developed to help Michigan producers increase soybean yields and farm profitability. SMaRT is a partnership between Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Soybean Checkoff program.

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